Greece › Santorini › Hotels › Gabbiano Review
by Santorini Dave • Updated: February 7, 2023
• Location: Excellent location on the caldera at the entrance to Oia.
• Hotel website: gabbianosantorini.com
• Hotel phone: +30 22860 72107
• Check prices for Gabbiano Traditional Cave Houses
Gabbiano Traditional Cave Houses – Family-friendly, boutique hotel with only three apartments, all with private jacuzzis and stellar sunset views.
This tiny hotel offers charming apartments with fully equipped kitchenettes, welcome fruits, and outdoor jacuzzis with incredible 180° views of the Oia caldera. Each of these romantic apartments is set in a hundreds-years-old cave: one, a former house; the second, a wine cellar; and the last, a former donkey stable. Guests have the option of adding breakfast to their stays, or booking the apartments only. Because the hotel is so small, service is highly personalized; the hotel manager contacts each guest individually ahead of their stay to handle any requests. The location is fantastic overlooking the caldera, near several restaurants, and within an easy walk of the center of Oia and all of its best-loved attractions.
Gabbiano Traditional Cave Houses – Location
Excellent location on the caldera at the entrance to Oia. The hotel is within 3 to 20 minutes’ walking distance to the best restaurants, shops, and attractions in the village, but in a quiet section removed from the hordes of cruise ship tourists.
• How to Get There:
The hotel is located on a footpath just off the main road into Oia, making it very easy to travel to and from, whether by taxi, driving yourself, or riding the bus. It is approximately 18km from the Athinios ferry port and the Santorini Airport to the hotel, though they are in different directions.
There are always buses waiting at the ferry port for every ferry arrival, as well as buses departing hourly from Santorini Airport. There are no direct buses from the port or airport to Oia, however; buses from both locations go to Fira, where you must then board a different bus to Oia – the entire trip from the port or airport to Oia will take at least an hour and cost about €5 in total. Tickets are purchased on the bus, in cash only. From the Oia Bus Terminal, it’s just a 15-minute walk to the hotel.
Taxis are also available from the port or airport, though there are only about 25 taxis serving the whole island, so there is often a wait; schedule a ride through a private car service in advance to avoid this (I use and recommend Welcome Pickups). Taxis on Santorini are not metered, so be sure to agree on a price with the driver before setting out. A taxi from the airport to Gabbiano Cave Houses will cost roughly €35 to €40. A taxi from the ferry port will cost around €35 to €40. Booking through a private car service will cost only a bit more – about $60 (or €50), but is worth it to avoid the wait and for the convenience of paying ahead.
For those who prefer to drive themselves, we recommend renting a car either at the airport on arrival, or in Fira. The road from the ferry port is steep and narrow, with many tricky switchbacks, large trucks, and buses. Leave that for the locals to navigate. We strongly recommend reserving a vehicle in advance, especially if you require automatic transmission. Upon arrival in Oia, there is a free parking lot nearby at the desalination plant, just 3 minutes away on foot.
• Handy to: The Oia-Fira Hiking Trail, Oia Bus Terminal, and the restaurant/shopping heart of Oia.
Map of Gabbiano Traditional Cave Houses
Gabbiano Cave Houses – The Basics
- Ages: Family-friendly hotel; all ages are allowed. Guests tend to be couples celebrating a special occasion, usually a honeymoon or anniversary.
- Beach: The closest swimming spot (though it is not a proper beach) is at Ammoudi Bay, the port immediately below Oia, 2 km from the hotel. This is a popular spot for swimming and cliff diving; though it’s too rocky and small to do much lounging. Ammoudi Bay is the main port of Oia, and is served by several spectacular seafood restaurants. It’s a steep trek down and back again, but it’s relatively easy to catch a cab at the bottom to bring you back up the hill. (Buy a snack at one of the restaurants and the waiter will be happy to call one for you.)
- View: Amazing, full views of the Oia caldera from each room.
- Kitchen: All apartments have a fully equipped kitchenette, and are stocked with basics such as coffee, tea, and fruits.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: All apartments have private jacuzzis on their terraces.
- Parking: Free parking at the public lot at the desalination plant, only a couple of minutes away on foot.
- When to Book: The hotel operates from early April until the end of October. Reserve at least 4 months in advance (6 months is better) for stays during the high season from June through September, and about 3 months in advance for the low and shoulder seasons.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +30 22860 72107
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: gabbianosantorini.com
Gabbiano Cave Houses – Amenities
- Pool: No pool.
- Spa: No spa.
- Fitness Center: No gym.
- For Disabled Guests: This is a caldera hotel with lots of stairs and no elevator. Not suitable for guests with mobility issues.
- For Families: Family-friendly hotel; all ages are allowed. They can provide cribs on request. The larger apartments sleep up to 4 guests.
- Activities: The staff can arrange any activities on the island, including cruises, car tours, wine tasting, and more.
Gabbiano Traditional Cave Houses – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: No restaurant onsite; this is a self-catering hotel.
- Lounge/Bar: No bar.
- Breakfast: Breakfast is available for €10 per person. This is a traditional Greek cold breakfast with yogurt, cheeses, cold cuts, Santorinian cherry tomatoes, olives, and bread. The meal is served at the time of your choosing directly to your private terrace.
- Room Service: Available for breakfast only.
Gabbiano Traditional Cave Houses – Rooms
- Room Type: Apartment with Outdoor Jacuzzi and Caldera View
- Smoking Rooms: The hotel does not allow smoking in any of their apartments. It is allowed on the private outdoor terraces, and in the outdoor common areas.
- Best Room: There are only 3 apartments here, and they all offer the same amenities. The Cupid Room is the smallest, though still quite spacious, and accommodates up to 2 guests. The Irene and Gabbiano rooms are larger, sleeping up to 4 guests.
- For Families: The Gabbiano and Irene rooms are the best for families, as they are the only ones that can accommodate up to 4 guests. Cribs are available on request. These rooms feature 1 king bed and 2 single sofa beds.
Gabbiano Cave Houses – Local Transport
- Walking: The hotel is located at the entrance to Oia, along the Oia-Fira trail. Walk 14 minutes west to get to the center of Oia, where you’ll find an endless choice of restaurants, shops, and attractions, as well as the bus terminal. Head east to find the traditional village Finikia, which has a couple of great restaurants and Sigalas winery. The Oia Castle ruins are just 22 minutes away, while Ammoudi Bay is just 5 more minutes past the castle at the bottom of the caldera.
- Bus: The hotel is right in between 2 bus stops. The closer of the 2 is at the entrance to Finikia village, a 13-minute walk east on the main street in front of Alonistra Oia Houses. The Oia Bus Terminal is 14 minutes west of the hotel. All buses that go through Finikia also serve Oia, but the Baxedes bus to Oia does not pass through Finikia. Buses here serve all of the major villages and beaches on the island, often with a change in Fira. Tickets are bought on board, and range from €1.80 to €2.50 per person in the daytime, depending on the route. Night buses (12:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.) run less frequently and cost a little more, from €2.30 to €3.10). Buses can get very crowded, especially during the high season, so much so that they often fill to capacity, and are unable to take on more passengers. There are only 23 public buses serving the island. Because of this, it’s better to catch the bus at the Oia Bus Terminal, which is the first stop, if you are leaving the hotel to explore. Coming back, get off the bus in Finikia, so you have a shorter walk to the hotel.
- Taxis: The nearest taxi stand is at Stathmos Taxi, near the Oia Bus Terminal. There is often a wait here as there are only 25 taxis serving the entire island (with guests from about 1,000 hotels, villas, and Airbnbs). Book ahead to avoid the wait, plus you can have them meet you at the hotel. There will be a small surcharge for advanced reservations and for carrying luggage, usually just a couple of Euros. The average rate from Oia to Fira is €20, and from Oia to the airport runs about €35 to €40.
- Scooters/Motorcycles: Scooters are the main mode of transportation for the locals, but if you’re unfamiliar with the terrain, it can be very dangerous. The roads here are zigzagging, hilly, narrow, and have sheer drop offs with no guardrails and no street lights in most areas. Lots of dirt roads and potholes.
- ATVs/Quads: ATVs are a fun and popular mode of transportation with tourists, but for the locals stuck driving behind them, they move too slowly and hold up traffic in an area where getting around is already a hassle. For those who don’t ride quads regularly (i.e. most people), they can be dangerous at high speeds and on turns. Crashing your ATV is a sure-fire way to ruin your vacation.
Gabbiano Cave Houses – What’s Nearby?
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Anemomilos Restaurant: Located next to the hotel of the same name; refreshingly local vibe, not touristy at all. Great food, friendly atmosphere.
- Melitini: 100% Greek menu using local Santorinian, Cycladic, and Greek ingredients only. Quaint, cozy interior and stellar caldera views from the rooftop terrace.
- Lefkes: Cozy, romantic restaurant in a converted wine cellar in the charming Finikia village.
- PitoGyros: Hands-down, the best gyros in Oia. Seating is limited.
- Candouni: Cozy, family-owned restaurant with live, Greek music and absolutely delicious food.
- Roka: Authentic Santorinian menu with solid dishes, especially the meatballs and octopus.
- Lotza: Simple, honest Greek comfort food with stunning caldera views.
- Ammoudi Bay Restaurants: Each of these waterfront restaurants is phenomenal, offering the freshest fish on the island. The steep 25-minute walk down takes longer coming back up, but the waiter will be happy to call a cab.
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
- Fino Cocktail Bar & Restaurant: The best cocktails in Santorini. Plus, inspired Mediterranean food and an extensive wine list.
- Sunset Sangria Bar: Chill spot for sangria, cocktails, and tapas with excellent sunset views (though not of the caldera).
- Marykay’s Bar/Hassapiko: The only nightlife in Oia, this is where to go for dancing, as they regularly host live bands and DJs.
Best Nearby Cafes
- Mes Amis: Amazing little spot on a covered patio looking over the caldera. Super casual, fantastic views, and great food.
- Meteor: Excellent coffee and breakfast with sweeping caldera views, though a little on the pricey side. Turns into a bar at night.
Nearby Shopping and Cool Shops
- BLOW by Labro: High-end designer boutique with unique pieces.
- Bligaki: Santorinian accessories, especially jewelry and bags, mostly handmade.
- It’s a Beautiful Day: Greek-designed clothing and luxury-brand accessories.
- B.Loose: Greek-made, casual linens for men and women.
- Steps to Art: Truly unique metal sculptures, replicas inspired by Akrotiri, and jewelry made with volcanic sand and watch parts.
- Spilia Cave Greek Clothing: Handmade, leather sandals, cotton and linen Greek clothes, located in one of the original living caves of Oia.
- Oia-Fira Hiking Trail: One of the top attractions on the island is this scenic 10.5 km hiking trail connecting Oia and Fira. A mix of sidewalk, cobblestones, and dirt trail, this route boasts gorgeous vistas the entire way. Hiking south to Fira, the full length of the path from the Byzantine Castle Ruins takes from 2 to 5 hours; Add about an hour for a detour at Skaros Rock in Imerovigli. 1-minute walk from the hotel.
- Church of Panagia of Platsani: The most iconic church in Santorini, beautiful inside and out.
- Museum of Ancient, Byzantine Musical Instruments: Faithful replicas of Greek instruments dating from the prehistoric through Byzantine eras.
- Maritime Museum: Small museum focused on Greek naval and Santorinian seafaring history. Only €3 to enter.
- Castle of Agios Nikolaos (aka Oia Castle aka Byzantine Castle Ruins): The medieval castle ruins are the most popular sunset viewpoint on the island.
- Domaine Sigalas: Santorini’s top winery, offering tours, tastings, and tapas.
- Ammoudi Bay: Best known for its fresh fish restaurants, Ammoudi is the rocky port of Oia; boats sail to Thirassia and cruise the caldera from here. It’s an incredibly popular spot for cliff diving, and is one of the best places to swim on the island.
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Perivolas Market: Perivolas Market: Small store with a decent selection of drinks, wine, and bread.
- Village Super Market: Good selection of staples at a fair price (for Santorini).
- Elliniki Diatrofi Supermarket: Great selection of local cheeses, wine, liquor, fresh produce, and staples. Open until after midnight, sometimes as late as 2:00 a.m.
- Proton Supermarket: Small market, but usually has the best prices. This is where most locals shop in the area.
Gabbiano Traditional Cave Houses – The Hotel
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